‘Big Sky’ Season 1 Episode 8 Recap: “The End is Near”

Big Sky Season 1 Episode 8
Katheryn Winnick and Guy Fauchon in ‘Big Sky’ season 1 episode 8 (ABC/Darko Sikman)

Cassie (Kylie Bunbury) and Jenny (Katheryn Winnick) creep up the stairs at Rick Legarski’s house, guns drawn, as ABC’s Big Sky season one episode eight begins. Episode seven ended with Merilee recognizing a sketch of Ronald and informing the private detectives the man they’re searching for is in her house. However, by the time they get to the master bedroom Ronald has disappeared.

An open window indicates Ronald’s escape path.

Cassie and Jenny find Rick’s hidden storage space and realize the man they’re hunting removed something from it. Cassie also finds a life-size cutout of Rick just standing in a room which, quite understandably, freaks her out.

A short while later, Sheriff Walter Tubb (Patrick Gallagher) and his men arrive to investigate. Merilee (Brooke Smith) claims she doesn’t know the man’s real name or the type of vehicle he was driving. She continues to insist she’s not involved in any of this and only struck up a friendship with the man because he seemed nice.

Ronald (Brian Geraghty) arrives home after driving like a bat out of hell. His dead mom’s still seated in front of the television. He straps her to a chair and moves her down to the basement.

Over at the hospital, it appears Rick’s condition is improving. His lawyer, Penelope Denesuk (Karin Konoval), fills him in on what’s happening with his truck driver accomplice. She informs him the man was in his house and is now on the run and considered extremely dangerous. She asks if he remembers the man’s name or anything about him, but Rick (John Carroll Lynch) claims he doesn’t know anything.

Penelope suggests a polygraph might help them in court – if he passes it. If he doesn’t, she won’t tell anyone. Merilee arrives with news the police believe she’s involved. Penelope believes Merilee should get an attorney and, in the meantime, not give any statements to anyone.

Ronald watches as the news reports a statewide manhunt is underway. Ronald takes offense when they describe him as depraved, slamming dishes to the floor in anger.

An adorable newspaper boy is delivering the Helena Herald when he stops and stares at the drawing of the unidentified trucker on the front page. The boy, Erik (Evan Whitten), heads over to Ronald’s place and tosses a paper on the front stairs. Ronald steps outside to grab it and immediately notices the sketch. He looks around and appears not to notice the newspaper boy is secretly snapping photos with his cell phone.

Oops, he did notice and grabs Erik before he can run away. Ronald tosses the boy in a cage in the basement and Erik quickly comes up with a reason why he was taking photos, claiming it’s for a school project about his job. Ronald knows he’s lying and Erik warns people know where he is and will be coming for him.

Meanwhile, Jerrie (Jesse James Keitel) helps out Jenny narrow down possible big rigs. Tubb joins them to fill them in on Merilee. He hopes Cassie will talk to her now that she’s lawyering up.

And speaking of Cassie, she’s doing her best to get Rick’s doctor to confirm his patient’s condition. He insists he doesn’t know what’s going on in Rick’s brain just as Rick’s lawyer appears.

Rick gets wired up for the polygraph and although he’s way too chatty, he appears to pass the test.

Cassie, Jenny, and Tubb discuss the news Rick’s lawyer wants him to sit for an official polygraph. They’re aware this means he’s passed an unofficial one and might not actually remember anything. Cassie still believes he’s faking it. Unfortunately, cops trust polygraphs which means if Rick passes, he’ll be found incompetent to stand trial and be sent to a psych facility.

Tubb wants to let it play out, but Cassie and Jenny aren’t about to let Rick get away with basically a slap on the wrist. Cassie wants a face-to-face with Rick to see his reaction.

Cassie’s disguised as a doctor when she enters Rick’s room, complete with a mask. She closes the blinds and removes the mask, demanding he look at her. He doesn’t react at all. She tests him by using his own words against him, trying to force a reaction. Cassie has him squeeze her fingers and then launches into a countdown to five – just as he did immediately before she shot him.

Cassie leans in and tells him her real name. Rick gets choked up and asks if he shot her with an arrow.

Cassie’s convinced Rick didn’t recognize her. She believes he’s mentally gone. Jenny remains unconvinced and wants to test him herself.

Erik’s mom, Rachel, visits the detective agency and tells Denise (Dedee Pfeiffer) her son is missing. She reveals he called earlier and said he knew someone in the paper, but she was busy at work. He also mentioned a reward and that he thinks he knows where the person lives. Rachel spots the drawing in a nearby paper and realizes who her son was talking about.

Cassie, Jenny, and Tubb question Rachel and she admits she’s not sure he said it was someone on his route. They grab a list of newspaper subscribers, believing it’s the best place to start. Rachel blames herself for not really listening to Erik when he called.

Big Sky Season 1 Episode 8
Brian Geraghty in ‘Big Sky’ season 1 episode 8 (ABC/Darko Sikman)

Ronald admits to Erik he’s not sure what he’s going to do with him. A ringing doorbell cuts short their conversation.

Ronald slaps tape over Erik’s mouth and locks his cage before heading upstairs to greet a priest (John Kapelos) who’s checking on his mom after she missed a meeting. Ronald claims she’s off visiting her sick sister and the priest isn’t buying it. He admits Ronald’s mom said there was something going on with his son.

Ronald’s forced to invite the priest in and he hints at what Ronald’s mom told him. Ronald’s dislike for the priest is evident and he accuses the priest of trying to drown him as a child.

Erik struggles against the bars in his cage, attempting to make noise. He figures out a way to scoot the cage across the floor and over to the workbench.

The priest hears the noise and Ronald insists it’s just his dog. Erik spots Ronald’s dead mom and screams bloody murder, a scream that can be heard upstairs despite the tape firmly secured over his mouth. Ronald rushes downstairs and threatens to kill Erik if he doesn’t stay still and be quiet.

The priest follows Ronald and spots the boy. He runs back upstairs and tries to escape but Ronald tases him. Still, he continues to fight against his attacker, but Ronald ultimately gets the upper hand.

Ronald drowns the priest in his kitchen sink and tosses the body downstairs.

The news reports on the amber alert issued for 12-year-old Erik Westergaard. The police are asking the public to report anything suspicious. The amber alert includes a warning that Erik’s in grave danger.

Cassie, Jenny, and Denise are discussing how desperate Ronald must feel if he stooped to kidnapping a young boy. Jerrie walks in just as they’re talking about it and can’t believe her abductor took another person. Jerrie admits she might be losing her mind; she’s been seeing this man everywhere.

Once more to the hospital we go and Jenny fakes being Rick’s sister to gain admittance to his room. His attorney yells for the guard to take Jenny away, but she won’t budge. She wants 30 seconds and Rick okays it after Jenny tells him he shot her husband. The attorney warns him he’s not competent enough to make this decision.

“That’s his game, isn’t it?” says Jenny. “He’s competent enough to kill, competent enough to dump a body in a hole but to be held accountable… He was my husband. We have a son – a son who is grieving the loss of his father.”

Jenny gets within inches of Rick’s face as she asks, “Are you competent enough to understand…”

The officer pulls her away before she can finish her question. Rick seems genuinely sorry as he says if he did what she says, he hopes to die as well.

Cassie remains firm in her belief Rick’s gone, but Jenny won’t accept that. She confesses she’ll kill him if he’s set free.

Panic is setting in for poor Erik, but he tries to collect himself enough to act. He’s still gagged, his hands are still tied, and he’s locked up in a cage with two dead bodies nearby, yet the kid remains determined to escape.

Cassie meets with Merilee who acknowledges she knows Cassie’s there to question her. Merilee continues to say she has nothing to do with the trucker or the kidnappings, and Cassie confirms she doesn’t believe Merilee’s involved. Cassie wonders if Merilee can think of anything Rick would have hidden that the man would have been after and asks if there are any other clues she might have overlooked as to his identity.

Merilee doesn’t believe her husband’s faking his amnesia and blames herself for “Mitchell” targeting her. She also confesses she thinks Mitchell actually felt something for her and she’s grateful he made her feel she’s alive.

Cassie hands her a photo of Erik and says they need to keep him alive.

Ronald conducts a Q&A with Erik, demanding to know the truth. If he lies, he dies. Erik admits he told his mom he recognized the sketch but didn’t tell her Ronald’s name or address. Ronald leans in and Erik shoots him with a staple gun. Erik holds up a taser and promises to use it if Ronald touches him again.

Ronald grabs a gas can and pours out its contents around the basement and on the dead priest’s body while singing “If You’re Happy and You Know It.”

Merilee returns to the hospital to show Rick the photo of Erik. She asks again for his accomplice’s identity, but he continues to claim he doesn’t remember. She reminds him about his old philosophies and how he loved to talk about morality and justice. She pats his hand and tells him, “Your humanity needs to rise up now, Rick. You’re the only one who can save this boy.”

Rick either won’t or can’t reveal Ronald’s identity.

Merilee watches as Rick’s hand beats a drumbeat on the bed. She takes that in and seems to come to a conclusion as to Rick’s amnesia.